We’ve written a fair amount on testing marketing communications and the impact it can have on a nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. It’s a critical discipline every large, growing organization incorporates into every piece of communication that makes it into a supporter’s hands.
But why is testing so important? Think of it this way: if you aren’t testing and measure the results, how do you know if your communication was as effective as possible? How do you know sending something different wouldn’t have raised even more support?
Well, we got a really good response rate to that mailing.
We raised more money on our website this quarter than any previous quarter.
Donors seem to be unsubscribing a lot less, so they must really like what we’re sending.
I’ve heard some version of each of those responses over the years — and they’re each a bit frustrating for a data nerd like myself.
For starters, none of them actually answer the question “how do you know something else wasn’t better.” And second, none of the responses are really measurable and grounded in the actual data — they all have some ambiguous variation of “really good” as their measurement.
What Should You Test?
We’ve created the infographic below to show you how making a small 10% improvement in results throughout the entire conversion funnel can actually have a greater impact than a much larger increase in only the email open rate.
Hopefully that infographic has conviced you: You NEED to be testing and dedicated to continuous improvement. Over the long haul, it can have a staggering impact on your fundraising efforts — and ultimately, help you accomplish your mission.
If you’re justing getting into A/B testing, start small by A/B testing subject lines to help increase the total number of donors that will have the opportunity to give a gift.
Start small and expand from there. Make sure you clearly define a hypothesis, create a measurable goal and go for it. You could be missing out on even better results. There are dozens of other components of your giver’s journey through the donation process that can be optimized.